ORLANDO, Fla. — No. 24 South Carolina softball extended its season-high winning streak to 12 games with a commanding 15-0 win in five innings over Lehigh on Sunday to close out the D9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide of Sports Complex. Two South Carolina grand slams, one by Tiara Duffy and the other by former Calhoun High standout Jana Johns, sparked the Gamecocks to victory as Carolina finished the week 6-0.
Johns led the way at the plate for the Gamecocks, going 3-for-3 with seven RBI. Duffy also shined, going 1-for-1 with four RBI. Duffy sparked the Gamecock scoring effort in a big way in the second, as she blasted a grand slam to centerfield to extend the lead to 5-0 through two.
Kelsey Oh (4-1) went the distance in the circle allowing just three hits while striking out five.
“Tiara has been having fantastic at bats,” head coach Beverly Smith said. “I thought for sure she was going to get us a hit. She put a great swing on a good pitch. I loved the grand slam. It was the spark we needed.”
The Gamecocks struck early and often in the dominating win over Lehigh. Jana Johns RBI-single in the first to score Kenzi Maguire gave Carolina an early 1-0 lead and from there on the Gamecocks never looked back.
After Duffy’s pinch-hit grand slam in the second, Carolina continued scoring in the third as Alyssa Kumiyama singled to right field to score Johns and make it 6-0. The lead was extended to 10-0 in the fourth thanks to Kennedy Clark, Johns and Alyssa VanDerveer plating runs.
Five more runs were plated in the fifth thanks to Clark drawing a walk before Johns’ grand slam.
The Gamecocks finished with nine hits from six different batters.
NOTES — The Gamecocks have scored at least one run in all 16 games this season. Dating back to last season, Carolina has done so in 17 of its last 18 games. Head coach Beverly Smith improved to 242-179 with the win. She is the second-winningest coach in school history. The Gamecocks won today’s game to move to 15-1 on the year and their 12th-straight victory of the season. Prior to this season, Carolina last won 11-straight games in 1997. The Gamecocks went on to WCWS that season. Kenzi Maguire has now reached base in all 16 games to start the season. Carolina finished the weekend 5-0 with 41 runs on 44 hits with eight extra base hits. The Gamecocks posted a .373 batting average and .487 on-base percentage. Carolina’s pitching staff of Cayla Drotar, Kelsey Oh and Dixie Raley finished with a 0.72 ERA while allowing just three runs and a low .175 opposing batting average.
UP NEXT — Carolina returns home on Feb. 28 when it plays host to Duke for the first time ever. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM ET on SEC Network Plus.
In other recent college softball action:
Liscio earns win for Western Carolina vs. Penn St.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Western Carolina softball split day two action of the Green and Gold Classic dropping the early game 8-0, in five innings, to UCF before bouncing back to defeat Penn State 5-1 Saturday at Debbie and Fred Pruitt Softball Complex.
Turning Point: In Game 2, Western Carolina capitalized on Penn State miscues to score three runs in the first inning and added insurance runs in the third and fourth innings for the win.
How it Happened: - Western Carolina scored three runs to open the game on a wild and crazy inning that started with a lead-off single by Erica Hayes.
- With one out, Hunter Gibbons walked and E. Hayes advanced to second on a wild pitch. In the second wild pitch of the inning, E. Hayes moved to third and Gibbons to second.
- E. Hayes benefitted from the third wild pitch of the first inning to score the Catamounts’ first run of the game which also moved Gibbons to third.
- The second walk of the first inning placed Kailey McNeil on first. Shaina Reed struck out but reached first on a wild pitch allowing Gibbons to score.
- A fielding error by Penn State allowed Abigail Daniels to reach first and loaded the bases. Kassandra Flores drew bases-loaded walk to score the Catamounts’ third run-scoring McNeil.
- After a scoreless second inning, Western Carolina plated a run off the bat of McNeil who hit the first homerun of her Catamount career to open the third inning.
- Western Carolina pushed across its fifth run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. E. Hayes hit a lead-off single moving to second on a ground-out by Armstrong. Ashlyn Long’s RBI single past third base scored E. Hayes.
- Penn State avoided the shutout scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth.
Inside the Box Score : - Western Carolina strung together seven hits in the game and gave up just two hits to Penn State.
- E. Hayes went 2-for-2 in the game and also scored a pair of runs.
- Pitcher and former Calhoun High standout Kinsey Liscio got the start for WCU and tossed five innings giving up one run on two hits and struck out three. She improves to 2-1 on the season.
- Rookie hurler Haley Brogden relieved Liscio in the sixth inning. She pitched two innings of shutout ball giving up just one hit and striking out two.
- Penn State had two errors in the game. - Western Carolina had at least one baserunner in six of the seven innings.
Jones has big day in Mercer’s doubleheader sweep
MACON, Ga. — Mercer bested Eastern Kentucky and Radford in day two of the Black & Orange Challenge, improving to 4-0 in the tournament and 12-2 on the young season. The Bears defeated the Colonels in game one, 5-1, before rallying to upend Radford 3-2 in extra innings.
Game 1: Mercer 5, Eastern Kentucky 1: Eastern Kentucky’s Destinee Lizzmore started off the game with a bang, belting a solo shot to dead center field for the early 1-0 lead. That was the only hit that Lauren O’Dell surrendered in the game, settling down to strike out three batters in 11 batters faced.
Mercer evened the game up in the bottom of the second inning with Emma Andrew unleashing her third home run of the season, blasting a solo shot over the left field fence. After a scoreless third inning, the Bears claimed the 2-1 lead with a solo homer from Caroline Taylor, her fifth of the season and fourth in four days.
The Bears put the game away in the fifth inning, scoring three runs on two hits, taking the 5-1 lead. Mercer’s first run of the inning came off an RBI double from Laurenne Sanchez, plating Shaila Warren from third. Quirisa Mauga then delivered a two-run double two batters later, bringing home Sanchez and Megan Lane.
Megan Bilgri earned her fourth win of the season, pitching four innings of work and allowing just two hits, while punching out four batters.
Game 2: Mercer 3, Radford 2: The Bears struck first in the bottom of the third inning as Megan Lane drove in freshman, former Calhoun High standout Allie Jones, from third. Lane reached safely on a throwing error by the Highlander second baseman, allowing Mercer to take hold of a 1-0 lead.
The Mercer lead was short lived as Radford plated two runs in the top of the fourth inning. The Highlander’s first run came off an RBI double from Douglas, plating Tapia from second. Douglas later scored in the inning as Morgan was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded, giving Radford the 2-1 advantage.
Nearing their final at bats, the Bears came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning, rallying to knot the game at 2-2. After an Andrew double with two outs in the inning, Jones stepped up for her first collegiate triple, bringing home the game-tying run from second.
Neither team could come up with the game-winning run in regulation, allowing the Mercer faithful to enjoy extra innings. Mercer needed just one extra inning to claim the victory as Taylor roped the game-winning RBI single to right center, bringing home Lane from third for the 3-2 triumph.
Jill McElderry hurled seven innings of work, striking out nine batters in her second consecutive appearance. However, Stella Preston earned the win, her fourth of the season. Preston threw one inning of work, allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
Stat of the Day: Mercer held Eastern Kentucky and Radford to just eight combined hits in 15 innings of work, yielding just three runs on the day.
Player of the Day: Allie Jones garnered player of the day honors. Jones came up big in game two, finishing 3-for-3 at the dish with the game-tying triple in the sixth inning.
Notables: Mercer improved to 12-2 on the season for the first time in program history. The Bears scored eight runs on 15 hits in day two of the Black & Orange Challenge. Caroline Taylor capped off a dominant week in which she belted four home runs and tallied 11 total RBIs. The Bears improve to 5-2 all-time against Eastern Kentucky, while also improving to 7-3 against Radford.
Henderson doubles in West Georgia win
CARROLLTON, Ga. — The UWG softball team showed no sign of heartbreak hangover on Saturday as the Wolves swept a doubleheader with 14-2 and 4-3 wins over Mississippi College at University Field, taking the three-game, Gulf South Conference series in the process.
One day after a 12-inning loss, the Wolves scored 14 runs including seven in the fourth inning in game one, run-ruling the Choctaws. In the second game, UWG and MC went toe-to-toe for seven innings before a Madison Chambers put the Wolves up by one run in the sixth.
The weekend moves the Wolves to 10-5 on the season, and even up UWG’s conference record at 3-3, while the Choctaws fell to 7-5 with a 2-4 conference mark.
Game One: Just as they did in game one on Friday night, the Wolves jumped all over the Choctaws early, with Ashley Ellison doubling to left center and then scoring on a Lexie Stohr single. Stohr, along with Peyton Stallworth, would come around to score on a former Calhoun High standout Cassie Henderson double, with Henderson scoring the final run of the frame on a Sydney Smith single.
After Caldwell’s first homer of the day drove in two in the second inning, the Wolves responded with three in their half of the second, as Ellison had her second hit of the game, which drove in Alley Taylor. Stohr drove in two more with a single to right field, extending the lead to 7-2 after just two innings.
Neither team scored in the third, but UWG broke it wide open with seven runs in the fourth as Madison Chambers had a bases loaded double that drove in three runs. Sydney Smith then hit her first homer of the season, belting a deep drive to straight away center, scoring three more. Ellison drove in a run with her fourth hit of the day to conclude the fourth inning scoring.